Kent Bush: Can Mitt Romney keep Sarah Palin from running?

Kent Bush

The Republicans are rapidly running out of options for 2012.

I don't know who will eventually win the nomination, but I know who is losing it.

Mike Huckabee announced that he was going to forego a shot at the White House to remain a Fox News host and bassist for Ted Nugent in between preaching revival services. He knew his chances were slim. How could a Southern Baptist from Arkansas get elected president? (That was a Bill Clinton joke for those of you scoring at home.)

Donald Trump also dropped out of the race. He wasn't ever in the race. But he dropped out with as much shock as when I dropped out of the Mr. Universe contest this year. I would have been the best Mr. Universe ever. I just couldn't work out the schedule. I'm a busy guy.

Newt Gingrich isn't out of the race - yet.

Gingrich has worked as a Fox News correspondent for so long that he forgot people actually think he believes what he says.

When David Gregory asked him questions about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan on "Meet the Press" last Sunday, Gingrich thought he was supposed to veer into the most divisive talking points possible. That's how he's made a living and paid back a six-figure bill at Tiffany's over the last five years.

I would quote Gingrich on that, but he has already stated that, "any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood."

I think he means that they would be twisting his words. That isn't true.

But any ad that quotes him does have a pretty good chance of containing a falsehood.

Rick Santorum was upset when Gingrich apologized to Ryan for calling his budget right-wing social engineering because Santorum loves right-wing social engineering.

They've still got Ron Paul who would not have supported the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s and Herman Cain. I guess the GOP doesn't begin that last sentence with "our dream ticket" because they're still hoping Mitch Daniels' wife will let him run.

The Bush Mafia wants Daniels in the race. The guy divorced a wife who left him to marry her former sweetheart. When that fell apart, he took her back and they raised their kids together. I'm sure they don't want to relive that rough spot in their marital life, but it could be worse. Didn't you see the news on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver?

Mitt Romney has to feel like the last kid picked in PE. He is doing all he can to keep Sarah Palin out of the race. He recently raised $10 million in four minutes or something. I bet he donated a good portion of that Michele Bachmann to make sure there was a loud, folksy, conservative female in the race.

Romney has problems because he has been dubbed "Obama's Running Mate" by the ultra-conservative talking heads because of his experiment with a state-wide healthcare program as governor of Massachusetts. Those ideologues don't realize that ultra-conservative candidates scare liberal and moderate voters. If they get their candidate on the ticket, Obama will be a two-termer.

I don't know if Romney can keep Palin from running. If Huckabee would take a pay cut to become president, what about Palin? No one has ever cashed in like she has.

But if Romney is the "best option" left, she will probably feel compelled to run.

I still strongly believe that Palin's best chance is at the end of Obama's second term.

Vice President Joe Biden won't be a candidate to take Obama's job. And this country won't ride the same train for more than two terms. After Obama's second term, voters would be looking for a change.

If Obama wins in 2012, Republican chances in 2016 double.

If she runs and loses in 2012, she hurts the Palin brand. If she can find a reservoir of patience, the country's first female president will follow our first black president.

Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.